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Jamie Roberts set to miss first Wallabies Test

It’s another blow for Warren Gatland’s tourists ahead of next Saturday’s first Test with the Aussies.
Jun 17th 2013, 10:13 AM 2,992 0

BRITISH AND IRISH Lions centre Jamie Roberts is not expected to feature in the first Test with Australia because of a hamstring injury.

The 26-year-old limped off as the Lions eased to their fifth successive win of their tour by overcoming New South Wales Waratahs 47-17 in Sydney last Saturday. And team doctor James Robson has confirmed that the Welshman is highly unlikely to be fit for the Lions’ first meeting with the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday.

“Jamie is a grave doubt for this week — there is no doubt about that,” Dr Robson said. “You only had to see how much discomfort he was in at the weekend. However, further assessment will be made later in the week as to his availability going forward.”

The news will come as another setback to a Lions side beset by injuries. England’s Manu Tuilagi is still struggling with a shoulder problem, while Ireland winger Tommy Bowe is unlikely to take part as he recovers from fracturing a bone in his hand. However, in more positive news for the tourists, Roberts’ Wales team-mate George North is progressing well from his own hamstring problem and could be fit to feature.

“George is an exceptional character and has worked really hard. He is back to running,” Dr Robson added. “An accurate assessment of his availability for selection will take place on Wednesday, but at the moment I think he is doing very well.”

Despite the slew of injuries, Paul O’Connell, who is featuring in his third consecutive Lions tour, stressed that the competition for a spot in the Test line-up is fierce.

“Every tour has been different,” the Ireland lock, who captained the Lions on their 2009 tour of South Africa, said. “The dressing-room is a lot quieter than on previous tours. There isn’t a hell of a lot of talk coming up to games. There is no bravado or talk.  There is savage competition for places, and guys are very eager to play as well as they can individually.”

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